Advantages

Editor’s Letter

Paranoia

I’ve been in the ad specialties industry for 20 years now (yes, I started at 18) and let’s just say, I’ve seen my share of paranoia.

About anything and everything, from direct-selling suppliers to online distributors to taking suppliers on sales calls to sharing success stories with competitors and lots more. That’s why, to go along with our brand-new redesign of the magazine (more on that later), I asked new Senior Writer Chris Ruvo to delve into our industry sales reps’ biggest anxieties, explain why they impede sales and offer reasons why you should conquer them and how to do just that. We first titled it “Paranoia Will Destroy Ya,” but in an attempt to put a positive spin on things, we changed it to “Keep Calm and Power On.”

That last fear I mentioned perplexes me most. Why wouldn’t you want to share case studies in a well-regarded and trusted magazine, such as Advantages? OK, I’m biased, but our focus groups bear that out. As Mark Ziskind, chief operating officer at Caliendo Savio Enterprises (asi/155807), told Chris, “Customers and prospects are going to ‘Google’ you, and when they see articles that feature you as an expert, that’s never going to hurt,” he says. “People see how you go to market and that attracts them.”

The fear of online sellers goes way back too, but we’re here to tell you, stop sweating them. “You need to convey to clients that they should work with you because you offer premium service that will give them peace of mind and ROI,” says Danny Friedman, vice president of Added Incentives. Get your clients, he says, “to think about the value of having the project done correctly – about how much more it could cost if something went wrong with the online order. Don’t worry about the online guys. You should be concerned with providing great service and finding quality clients.”

And that’s my point: Why are you so paranoid if you’re establishing great, long-term relationships with quality clients and showing them your professionalism and expertise at every opportunity? Read this article and get over the fears that could be holding you back.

Now Onto Our Redesign

We like to keep things fresh around here, so we redesigned the magazine from beginning to end. You will notice many improvements, both in design and content. First off, kudos to our Art Director, Hillary Glen. Job well done.

Content-wise, we’ve added elements that I’m sure will rev you up every month. Case in point: Our “Sales Boost” section at the very front of the magazine. Each month, we will present a new 5-step action plan to propel your sales forward. In addition to the sleek, new design of our product showcases, you’ll note case studies and tips for selling each product category successfully. One more new section we include on the very last page is called, “Hey, You’re Human.” We focus on a distributor’s screw-up, the solution and lessons learned. Don’t miss it.

Our new sections and new designs were tested with focus groups at both the ASI Shows in New York and Long Beach and they were very well-received. We also took the groups’ feedback and tweaked things here and there. We aim to please our readers! And that includes you. Let me know what you think and enjoy this new edition, with all the action items and power-packed ideas it holds inside.